Estate Planning & Farm Transition Conferences begin March 12 |

Estate Planning & Farm Transition Conferences begin March 12

Aberdeen, Sioux Falls and Mitchell will be the sites for a series of South Dakota State University Extension training sessions which will focus on estate planning.

Sustaining the Legacy conferences also help people who seek transition of their farm or ranch from one family member to another. Extension staff and industry professionals will help participants develop the tools they need in order to face estate-planning challenges with less stress.

The sessions will be hosted in Aberdeen on March: 12, 19 and 26 at the Aberdeen Regional Extension Center. In Sioux Falls on March 13, 20 and 27 at the Sioux Falls Regional Extension Center. In Mitchell on March 14, 21 and 28 at the Mitchell Regional Extension Center.

The training costs $75 per person. Registration is required by March 6. To register, call Livestock Business Management Field Specialist, Heather Gessner at, 605-782-3290. You can find the brochure and registration form at:

“Each session is filled with important information that can help farm and ranch families address questions they may face as parents or grandparents get older and consider their legacy,” said Gessner, who is organizing the conferences. “Producers have told me that the value of this program was $1 million, due to the changes they made to their estate plan and the reduction of potential estate taxes.”

Each day of the three-session programs is full of tools and how-to information families can use to create and implement their individualized plan, no matter how big or small the operation. Topics for the sessions cover communication styles, business structures, goals, asset distribution, wills and probate, retirement planning and funding, fair versus equal distribution, tax implications for the operation, life insurance, long-term care insurance, trusts, and other topics as determined by the audiences.

“Many of the past participants have utilized the information from the conference to reduce potential estate taxes and ensure that their operation is passed down to the next generation in a smooth, hassle free transition,” Gessner said.

All family members are encouraged to attend the sessions, and on- and off-farm heirs are also invited to learn about the tools and participate in the discussions.

“Past participants have used this conference to interview attorneys and insurance agents while they are presenting the basics of using the many tools available to them,” Gessner said. “If you are making plans to retire or becoming a partner in the operation, or if you own farm or ranch assets, this program is a great start for you. Our goal is to give you the tools to develop your estate plan and the motivation to get started, combined with some gentle nudging that keeps you moving forward with the process.”

Partial funding for this program is provided by the South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council (SDSR&PC).

“SDSR&PC is proud to be one of the sponsors for this year’s estate planning workshops. With rising land values and profit margins, estate planning has never been more important,” said Doug Hanson, a SDSRPC board member and a past participant of the conference. “My wife and I have attended these workshops in the past and have found them very informative.”

Call Gessner at her Sioux Falls Regional Extension office with questions at, 605-782-3290, or e-mail her at this address:

– South Dakota State University Extension

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